Notes: Chrysler has taken the boring small car frame of the Neon, grafted a 1930s-era roadster body on top and named it the PT Cruiser. While the new look may appeal to some, the vehicle has unfortunately also inherited many of the same problems as the Neon.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
58,520 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser electrical problems

electrical problem

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2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #41

May 092015

PT Cruiser

  • miles


Was driving vehicle going 55 mph and dashboard faults out with incoherent readings and transaxle shifts self into neutral. I shift gear selector into neutral and back into drive. Dashboard readings go back to normal and transaxle goes back into drive. 15 seconds later battery light comes on. Continue driving to find a place to park. After about 10 seconds engine stalls out. Shift gear selector into neutral and try to restart vehicle but it won't start. Coast to a stop and open hood. Notice an odd smell. Open hood and alternator is on fire. Close hood and grab personal belongings (except for phone charger) out of vehicle. Call 911 as vehicle burns up. Fire and police arrive and extinguish fire but vehicle badly destroyed by being engulfed in flames.

- Machesney Park, IL, USA

problem #40

Dec 122014

PT Cruiser

  • 136,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Chrysler PT CRUISER. While driving approximately 30 mph, the contact smelled a burning odor and discovered a plug melted and that the fog lights were not illuminating. The vehicle was inspected by an independent mechanic and repaired. The contact did not have the name of the parts that were replaced. The failure continued to occur. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 136,000. Updated 04/07/15

- Wisconsin Rapids, WI, USA

problem #39

Jun 192010

PT Cruiser

  • 130,000 miles
My car just shuts off leaving me no control to stop, turn, or get out of the way of traffic behind me..... @ 55mph to nothing is asking to be hit from behind. Or if turning across a divided highway, to be left stuck with 2 lanes of semi coming for me and my kids. Now it sometimes wont even do anything when I crank over the ignition (like there is no battery) or if it cranks and starts it will shut off right away. It wants to idle down at stops and stall. I have had it in the shop more than I like N spent more money to have to be told they can't find anything. I read of so many other owners with the same problems who end up junking these cuz they just stop starting....sad, we need our cars to run. Chrysler knows they R riddled with serious issues including the lights and transmissions.....these are a bad combination on the road. Someone needs to look @ some stats! thanks.

- Jjeromesville, OH, USA

problem #38

Mar 272014

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 112,332 miles


I bought a car from North coast auto mall and it had a lot of suspension problems. They ensured me that they would fix these issues if I bought the car. After buying the car, they have had me in and out of their shop 4 or 5 times to which they only lube the parts or lie to me claiming that the car has been fixed. I feel that this business practice is unsafe and misleading. They claimed to have replaced a control arm to which Goodyear later (when I was buying tires) informed me that my control arms were bad. I was surprised to hear this. North coast should be investigated as they are selling unsafe cars, claiming to repair issues and then putting me in an unsafe car. 30 claims have been made about similar issues via the better business bureau, the federal trade commission and the Ohio attorney general. I feel that they should be investigated for safety reasons.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #37

Feb 142006

PT Cruiser

  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Chrysler PT CRUISER. The contact stated that the radio and door locks would activate independently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the fuse needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was repaired but the failure recurred. The approximate failure mileage was 40,000 and the current mileage was 90,000.

- Corning, CA, USA

problem #36

Feb 012013

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
Fog lights malfunction very frequently. For the past couple of months, vehicle's battery has been drained because the fog lights are on (which are never turned on or even used) and will not go off. Happens frequently and it's difficult to get the fog lights to go off, the lights control has to be jiggled just right to get them to go off so we know the battery won't be drained after a few hours. Lately, it has gotten harder and harder to get them to turn off and finally had to pull the fuse in order to make them go off.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #35

Sep 012012

PT Cruiser

  • 230,000 miles


I bought a 2001 PT CRUISER and within a couple of weeks the headlights stopped working. Replaced multi function switch but did not help. Had to re-wire the lights to make them work. Also it sounds like the passenger side front tire has something loose. Possibly bushings"? I've seen several complaints about the lights. What is it gonna take to get a recall in place" we got a ticket for it.

- Grantsville, UT, USA

problem #34

Sep 052012

PT Cruiser

  • 143,000 miles
Vehicle was used to drive to local store at night. Fog lights were not turned on at any time. I parked in department store parking lot and came out after shopping for about 45 minutes and noticed a burning smell coming from PT CRUISER. Opened the drivers door and odor became more apparent. Noticed smoke rolling out of steering column. Also noticed fog lamp indicator on dashboard was on. However, all lights and switches were off. I had to pull out several fuses until I found the one related to the fog lamps. That was the only way to quickly power off the fog lamps and stop the smoldering. This is a potential fire hazard!

- Schuylkill Haven, PA, USA

problem #33

Jan 102010

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Web site topix will confirm the incredible # of folks that have had fog lamps turn on after car is shut down causing battery drain. 100's have paid for replacement part multi-function switch. This controls fog, head, accessory, & dash lighting. To prevent the fog lamps from coming on by themselves, most have removed fuse # 8 to remove the fog lamps from the circuit. People report smoke coming from turn signal lever, & the complete loss of all lighting is quite common. I personally have replaced the multi-function switch 3 times on my wife's 2001 P.T. cruiser with only 50,000 total miles & she being original owner. By parking her car minus fuse # 8, not using dome lighting, & always parking with the signal lever in the down or left turn position has prevented the mystery fog lamp issue, & kept her battery functioning. This "temp" solution has allowed her about 6 or 8 months of driving w/O the problems other pt owners struggle with. Sooner or later someone will lose lighting or a fire will occur inside the steering wheel which will cause serious injury, loss of vehicle & possibly death. Chrysler denies any knowledge, but wants more than $1,0000 to analyze & repair. Through the topix P.T forum I was able to learn how to do the work myself for far less than $100. Many are getting ripped off for hundreds while Chrysler knows full well of the issue. No less than an investigation, perhaps started with the topix forum will demonstrate the incredible number of failures that still plague the P.T. on later models such as 2001 thru 06 or 08. Also need 3rd. Brake job, & the rims do not seal causing low tires that hurt mpg. Driving comfort, & safety. Dealer & I have tried Michelin tires hoping the problem was with the factory installed goodyears. I still hear every 100 miles or so that my wife's P.T needs additional air pressure.

- American Canyon, CA, USA

problem #32

Jan 212011

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 134,221 miles
Car stalls on turns particularly to the left, upon key insertion hard crank or starts and idles roughly then shuts off with out warning. While idling at stop lights the rpms may or may not (rev, ) after so many mins of driving acceleration becomes more difficult at intervals & stalling usually while turning at intersections. Or going over bumps or up hills. This happens some what sporadically so I never can tell when I'm safe to go. Definitely not something U want to think about w min coverage either way.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #31

Aug 302011

PT Cruiser 4-cyl

  • 69,896 miles


I am the original owner of this PT CRUISER, purchased on November 22, 2000. My multi-switch will not turn on my fog lights and the indicator in the instrument cluster does not light. I have read many online articles from owners with the same problem. Why won't Chrysler fix this on going problem?

- Parkville, MD, USA

problem #30

Aug 052010

PT Cruiser

  • 85,452 miles
I own a 2001 Chrysler PT CRUISER. I purchased it used in 2006. It's been in the shop numerous times because the battery keeps going bad. In 4 years I've replaced the battery 3 times. Today I was almost in a serious accident. I was driving and it just stalled in traffic! it just died, like it ran out of gas. This vehicle is a safety hazard! I called a tow truck it's in the shop tonight. Mechanic thinks it's the PCM/ powertrain control module, cost around $1000!!

- Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #29

May 262006

PT Cruiser

  • miles
Door locks randomly lock and unlock themselves. Remotes and interior lock switches are non-functional. Produces the risk of locking occupants out of the car, or unlocking at night and poses higher risk of theft.

- Richmond, VA, USA

problem #28

Aug 012009

PT Cruiser

  • miles
Electrical short / failure in the car horn (simultaneously affecting the lcd of the clock/radio). Issue stems from some electrical wiring in the steering column; not sure how the two are relates but when I bang on my steering wheel the lcd comes back and the horn is functional again. Potential safety hazard as it affects the horn and ability to avoid accidents. No known fix from manufacturer alarms me.

- Tamarac, FL, USA

problem #27

Mar 202009

PT Cruiser

  • 69,000 miles
Unexplainable complete battery drain began in 08/2008. Discovered in 03/2009 that the fog lights were coming on and staying on when car was on as well as when off and parked thus, causing the battery drain. Only way to keep fog lights off was to engage the left turn signal or remove the fuse. Took to dealer 03/21/2009 and found the issue is with the multifunction switch, with a replacement cost of $269. Went ahead with the replacement as I do use the fog lights. Have searched internet and have found many, many cases of this exact part defect. Chrysler should recall.

- Westerville, OH, USA

problem #26

Oct 012008

PT Cruiser

  • 100,000 miles
2001 PT CRUISER. Horn and radio/clock display intermittent. When the radio/clock display is dark, the horn is inoperative. This happens often. Sometimes the horn does not work for several weeks, other times for only a short time. Two repair shops looked at it, but the problem cleared by it self, and they could not find anything.

- Woodstock, GA, USA

problem #25

Nov 292008

PT Cruiser

  • 135,453 miles
Factory installed key alarm system is shorting out, alarm will not deactivate by remote only on ignition switch, doors will lock and unlock while vehicle is in motion. Estimated cost of repair 300.-500.00.

- Melrose, FL, USA

problem #24

Nov 292008

PT Cruiser

  • 83,000 miles
I started driving my 2001 PT CRUISER and noticed the fog lamp indicator was on. The lights were not turned on, I checked all the switches. A couple miles down the road I noticed smoke coming from the column through the hazard button. I pulled over and pulled the fuse for the fog lamps which stopped the smoking before a fire started. The fuse was very hot. I see this is a very common problem via the internet on the pt. Why has this not been recalled if its a safety issue with possible fires.

- Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #23

Nov 052008

PT Cruiser

  • 84,839 miles
I have a faulty part in my 2001 PT CRUISER it is called a fog light switch it goes bad in 2001 and 2002 cruisers. I have a website you can go on and see over 300 more people like me who are having the same problems. Google search word for word trouble with multifunction control switch for PT CRUISER headlights. Please help along with hundreds of other people who almost lost there lives due to there lights going out.

- Hazleton, PA, USA

problem #22

Jun 102007

PT Cruiser

  • 51,780 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Chrysler PT CRUISER. The contact received a recall notice pertaining to the fuel system. After the recall repairs were performed, the instrument panel failed. The engine and all the electrical components shut off while idle as well as driving various speeds. While driving less than 70 mph, the failure recurred and caused an 18-wheel vehicle to swerve over the median to avoid crashing into her vehicle. The dealer reprogrammed the transmission controller module. On July 10, 2007, the vehicle was taken back to the dealer for the same failures. The etax relay and the controller software was updated. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer on August 30, 2007. The flash controller was replaced and the air bag sensor was reprogrammed; however, the repairs did not remedy the failures. On December 28, 2007, the vehicle was taken to the dealer due to transmission hesitation. The modular engine controller was reprogrammed. The failure mileage was 51,780 and current mileage was less than 62,000. Updated 10/16/08

- San Fransisco, CA, USA

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